Genital Herpes Rash: What Does it Look Like?

Aarohi Batra
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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genital herpes rash

Genital Herpes rash is caused by Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) type 1 or 2.

According to NCBI, Genital Herpes is a common infection that affects almost 22% of the adult population and represents 45 million infected people in the US alone.

It is a common symptom in people with this STD and may cause painful blisters filled with fluid.

This comprehensive article aims to shed light on what a rash due to Genital Herpes looks like, its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Genital Herpes rash

The rash due to Genital Herpes is caused by Herpes Simplex Virus type 2.

However, in some cases, HSV-1 can also cause Genital Herpes, and may lead to rash.

The first few signs of rash are tingling, burning, or itchy sensations in the genital area.

Fact:
As per NCBI, HSV-2 seroprevalence is higher in women than men. Because men have asymptomatic HSV-2 infection compared to women, causing higher transmission from men to women.

What does a rash due to Genital Herpes look like

Skin irritationSource: vvoevale
Skin rashes (skin infection)

Generally, Genital Herpes is an asymptomatic infection.

However, sometimes, it can cause symptoms such as rash and may appear within four to seven days after sexual intercourse.

The rashes may appear like the following clinical features:

  • Macules: It is a small, flat, and discolored area of skin and does not cause change in skin texture or thickness
  • Papular skin: Papule is a type of skin lesion and appears as a solid or cystic spot raised, less than a centimeter, on the skin
  • Vesicles: These are small blisters filled with fluid
  • Pustules: Pustules are pimple-like spots on the skin

The rash can be seen in the anus, buttocks, groin, and inner thighs.

In men, the rashes may appear on the penis or under the foreskin area.

On the other hand, in women, the rash may appear in the vagina.

Symptoms of Genital Herpes rash

The rash may appear like clusters of fluid-filled small blisters.

It can get painful and may appear as red sores or bumps with fluid in them.

These symptoms may be overlooked due to their similarities with common skin abnormalities and may cause delayed treatment.

In addition to the rash, Genital Herpes may lead to fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and difficulty urinating. 

Causes of Genital Herpes rash

The two types of Herpes virus cause rashes due to Genital Herpes.

This STD can be transmitted through genital contact with an infected person and acquiring HSV through the following ways:

  • Herpes lesions
  • Genital secretions
  • Mucosal surface
  • Oral secretions

Treatment of Genital Herpes rash

Antibiotics are the primary form of treatmentSource: AlexRaths_from_Getty_Images_Pro
Antiviral medications

Although there is no permanent cure for Genital Herpes, some antiviral medications can be used to treat the rash.

The therapy can heal the rash and sores, minimize the risk of recurrent outbreaks, and lessen the severity of symptoms and transmission.

Some prescribed antiviral medications for treating rash are as follows:

  • Famciclovir
  • Acyclovir
  • Valacyclovir
Recommended Article
Read “Genital Herpes Medication: Types, Benefits & Considerations” to learn about possible Genital Herpes medicines.

Therefore, it is necessary to consult a healthcare practitioner and seek prescribed medications for faster recovery.

Conclusion

Genital Herpes can be caused by Herpes Simplex Virus types 1 and 2, leading to primary or recurrent infections.

Though Genital Herpes is asymptomatic, it can cause a rash-causing tingling, burning, and itchy sensation in the genital region.

Genital Herpes rash may appear in macules, papular skin, vesicles, and pustules and occur in the anus, buttocks, vagina, and penis.

The symptoms may include red bumps filled with fluid that appear like clusters caused by genital contact with an infected individual.

Fortunately, it can be treated with antiviral medications, contributing to faster recovery.

Therefore, consult a healthcare practitioner and seek prompt medical attention.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Genital Herpes look like?

Genital Herpes is an asymptomatic infection. However, it may cause symptoms such as red rash and may appear within four to seven days after sexual contact. The rash may look like macules, papular skin, vesicles, and pustules. 

How long does Herpes rash last?

Herpes rash may last for two to three weeks after getting sexual contact. Though Genital Herpes is asymptomatic, it can cause a rash. It may appear within four to seven days after sexual contact with an infected person. Consult a healthcare practitioner and seek prompt medical treatment.

How do you permanently treat Genital Herpes rash?

There is no cure for Genital Herpes. However, the rash can be treated with antiviral medications. These medications include Famciclovir, Acyclovir, and Valacyclovir. Therefore, consult a healthcare practitioner and seek prompt medical attention.

Where does Genital Herpes rash appear?

It may appear on the penis, under the foreskin, vagina, buttocks, groin, anus, and in the inner thighs. The rash may appear as red-colored blisters filled with fluid. On suspecting these symptoms, consult a healthcare practitioner and seek prompt medical attention.

Citations:
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